Thank You to the People who Love Kids Like Mine

I recently found out I had a challenging kid.

Now I say that with a smile on my face and the love of a mother.

I mean, I knew. Of course I knew.

My son is nonverbal with severe autism. He is also a big kid. We’ve had our challenges. Our ups and downs.

But I guess I didn’t know just how challenging he could be, and often is, every day.

And I know why.

Home is his safe space. We don’t challenge him at home like they do in therapy. I get it. So I don’t see it.

But every day I am greeted with smiles at pick up.

Which is probably a sign that he is in the right place.

I think back to different daycares and schools he’s attended over the years where every single report was negative. Every day.

I’d hold my breath at pick up thinking…is this the day they are going to kick him out.

Every phone call, email, text. Dread.

I don’t have that anymore. Thank God.

So, I was a bit surprised a few months ago when my son went through a hard patch at home, and it dawned on me that this was how he behaved at school.

It honestly scared me.

I dug into the data a bit that is provided by his therapy center.

Long, aggressive behaviors. Hitting. Kicking. Flailing. Screaming.

All daily.

Big, huge, behaviors. A behavior plan even.

And yet every person we walk by greets him by name.

They give him high fives. They smile at him. They hug him. They tickle him.

COOP-COOP is a favorite. He is loved.

I can feel it when I’m there.

I could never thank those kind souls enough.

And not even just for teaching him…but for showing him kindness and love.

Today, I spent the day at my other son’s school.

A typical, K-5 school.

I volunteered in the lunchroom.

I helped kids get through the lunch line, open their milks and empty their trays.

I was in awe of the order. The calmness in the room.

And I thought about how Cooper could never sit down and eat like these kids. I immediately made it a goal of mine. Teach him to eat in a lunchroom. And I don’t care if he doesn’t achieve it until he’s 20. We are going to practice.

Then, midway through, I saw a group of boys come in. Big boys. Two paras. I knew immediately.

These were my kids. These boys were like my Cooper.

I gravitated towards them.

I watched them grab their trays, with help. They went through the line. They sat down. They ate. With the other kids.

And these two lovely women helped them.

They never left their sides. They smiled. They laughed. One played with a boy’s hair. Rubbed his head. Helped him to stay calm.

When I spoke with her, she called the boys ‘her kids.’ She spoke about their great school, program and staff.

I teared up a little bit.

I just want to say…

Thank you to the people who love the challenging kids. Thank you for keeping them safe. For wiping their mouths. For guiding them through hallways.

For helping them on their good days and their bad days. For taking a kick. A hit. For picking them up off the ground. For helping them go to the bathroom.

For being nice to parents like me.

For working a selfless job. For not making millions caring for these vulnerable kids.

But most of all, thank you for loving them. I hope you know just how much it means to parents like me.

Thank you.

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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